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Carboy Caps vs Rubber Bung/Stopper?

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max.barbarian

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Jul 1, 2017
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I made a blueberry melomel, which spawned my Levitating Blueberries question not too long ago, mostly due to slight off-notes likely from minor oxidation. This happened from the plastic, solid carboy cap having a hairline crack around the hole where the air-lock was. Now, with the same batch I've gotten another defective cap issue. Another crack, this time around the top thread of the cap.

I have a couple of rubber stoppers that I haven't used yet, any feedback on their pros and cons versus those of the plastic/solid ones? I'm so sick of the shoddy quality of these plastic ones failing on me.
 

Squatchy

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I seriously doubt that was what lead to you problems. I use clear 2" packing tape over the top of my vessels and have for a couple years with no problem.
 

dingurth

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May 23, 2012
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I've always used the rubber stoppers so I can't give an accurate comparison, but I do like them. You do have to be careful that they are in there securely though. Changes in temperature can cause the air in your carboy to expand and contract which can wiggle them out over time a little. What I like to do is put them in the neck of the carboy and then put the airlock in to get a tighter seal.
 

Squatchy

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I've always used the rubber stoppers so I can't give an accurate comparison, but I do like them. You do have to be careful that they are in there securely though. Changes in temperature can cause the air in your carboy to expand and contract which can wiggle them out over time a little. What I like to do is put them in the neck of the carboy and then put the airlock in to get a tighter seal.
My tape doesn't give a shit about temp changes, off gassing of SO2, restarts and never dries out, never pops out keeps flies out, cost a few dollars and last a very long time, even when you make a couple hundred gallon a year. Just saying :)
 

dingurth

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May 23, 2012
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My tape doesn't give a shit about temp changes, off gassing of SO2, restarts and never dries out, never pops out keeps flies out, cost a few dollars and last a very long time, even when you make a couple hundred gallon a year. Just saying :)
I think you should write "Squatchy's Guide to Mead" with pictures. I always get an interesting idea of what your setup might look like and I think an official doc with the visual aides would sate many of my curiosities.

Also to max: squatchy's right though, a small crack in your cap probably isn't what produced off flavors. This early in the process its likely from your yeast for any number of reasons (temperature, fusels, feeding, aeration).
 

Squatchy

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I think you should write "Squatchy's Guide to Mead" with pictures. I always get an interesting idea of what your setup might look like and I think an official doc with the visual aides would sate many of my curiosities.

Also to max: squatchy's right though, a small crack in your cap probably isn't what produced off flavors. This early in the process its likely from your yeast for any number of reasons (temperature, fusels, feeding, aeration).
I have been in the process of writing a manual so to speak.
 

Dadux

NewBee
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Jan 5, 2016
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I have been in the process of writing a manual so to speak.
It takes a lot of time.

But i hope you finish and we can read it. I've learned tons from you but im sure there's still unshared knowledge

Sent from my Aquaris M5 using Tapatalk
 

Stasis

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Just about everything is permeable to air, except a glass bottle or carboy. But the rubber/plastic/cork stoppers are technically permeable. Even plastic carboys are permeable. But the amount of exposure you'll get is miniscule. I take a look at the airlocks on my carboys from time to time and the air inside is constantly pushing outwards. Probably there is a bubble once in a full moon as the wine or mead degasses. So in this case the carboy is having negligible exposure to air, if any. However, having a half full carboy with big temp swings means that the water level in the airlock will be constantly shifting to and fro and the carboy will be intaking bubbles of air. This is the real danger. I like my airlocks because I can clearly see when an airlock becomes faulty. I also use clear plastic on smaller carboys like squatchy but I am paranoid that one of them might become faulty and I would never realize.
P.s if your bung is letting miniscule amounts of air just because even solid rubber is permeable it might not actually be a bad thing. Wines and I think also meads need some micro oxygenation in order to really age well. In fact even the best corks allow micro oxygenation so it hopefully won't be any worse aging in bulk.
Overkill would be aging in kegs
 

Stasis

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Interesting study, although I somehow doubt it's still valid if you have a constant inner pressure in the carboy. Assumingly from Co2
 

Squatchy

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This is true. Not to mention, how nicely mead does in oak barrels. Again because of evaporation. I won't ever say to someone more cautious than me to change thier modus operundia. But I personally hardly give it a thought. I will add. Part of my lax attitude towards oxidation is becausr I'm a believer in managing free SO2.
 

max.barbarian

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Jul 1, 2017
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FWIW, rubber stoppers, bungs and plastic airlocks are permeable to air. Over time oxygen will sneak past them, so for long term aging there's no substitute for keeping your carboys filled to the top to minimize the area exposed to air.

http://www.mocon.com/assets/documents/PPS_Article_highq.pdf
Thank you for the good article! I replaced the plastic cap that cracked with Buon Vino air lock in the article. Looks like I'll be shopping around for something else, or trying tape for the next batch like Squatchy haha.
 

Squatchy

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True enough, it was the first batch I tried using the No Heat method so I probably managed to mess that up somehow.
I think all of use the no heat method. I don't personally know of anyone who heats stuff any more. I think your problem was the amount of food you were feeding.
 

max.barbarian

NewBee
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Jul 1, 2017
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New England
I think all of use the no heat method. I don't personally know of anyone who heats stuff any more. I think your problem was the amount of food you were feeding.
Probably. I just give my yeast Fermaid K and energizer and leave them alone without doing anything else. I have much to learn still and "feeding the fermentation" or whatever is something I haven't played around with yet.
 

Squatchy

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You should read up then. There is a lot more you can do to move into a much better finished product.
 

max.barbarian

NewBee
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Jul 1, 2017
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New England
You should read up then. There is a lot more you can do to move into a much better finished product.
Definitely. Any recommendations aside from Compleat Meadmaker? That's all I have adorning my library shelf currently for brewing/wine/fermentation. And I appreciate the community lending me some advice when I appear and ask questions when shit hits the fan haha
 

Dadux

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Jan 5, 2016
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Go to the newbee forum and read people's thread when they ask for advice on how to do a full recipe. We give a lot of advice and its pretty detailed at least process-wise

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